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Hefty sentences given to Brainerd lakes area residents in meth case

A large drug ring that trafficked multiple pounds of methamphetamine to the Brainerd lakes area has been brought down, Crow Wing County Sheriff Todd Dahl reported.

A 42-year-old Centerville man, Craig Joseph Thompson — the man at the center of the methamphetamine ring — was sentenced Wednesday in U.S. Attorney’s Office in the District of North Dakota on a charge of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribute controlled substances. Seven Brainerd lakes area residents have already been sentenced in connection with the drug ring.

“Craig Thompson and the other members of this ring were a significant source of meth in the Brainerd lakes area,” Dahl said in a news release. ”Getting them off the streets goes a long way toward making this a safer community.”

Thompson pleaded guilty on March 7 to conspiring to sell in excess of 500 grams of a mixture and substance containing methamphetamine. Thompson was sentenced to 23 years in prison to be followed by 10 years of supervised release. Thompson was ordered to pay a $100 special assessment to the Crime Victim’s Fund.

The following Brainerd area defendants, who have been sentenced on drug conspiracy charges in this case include: Mark Alan Farber, 49, Pillager, was sentenced to 21 years prison; Rick Thomas Mertens, 30, Pillager, was sentenced to seven years prison; Barry Jay Wilcox, 50, Pillager, was sentenced to six years prison; Willam Charles Tessmer, 30, Pillager, was sentenced to two years prison; Terry Jason Disterhaupt, 37, Brainerd, was sentenced to eight years prison; John Michael Wilcox, 30, Minneapolis and formerly of Brainerd, was sentenced to seven years, six months prison; and Charles Scott Amundson, 40, Minot, N.D., and formerly of Brainerd, was sentenced to six years prison.

Two others, Marie Ann Poole, 28, of Pillager and Tyler Jacob Hardy, 27, of Brainerd, will be sentenced later this summer.

Crow Wing County Sheriff’s Sgt. Joe Meyer, commander of the Lakes Area Drug Investigative Division (LADID), said it was a lengthy and intense drug investigation that took a lot of work.

“A lot of time and money went into this investigation and as law enforcement it’s satisfying to see these guys will be held accountable for their actions,” said Meyer. “We’ve been dealing with most of these guys for years who have been selling meth.”

Meyer said because it was a federal case the defendants’ sentencing was higher and he hopes that the sentencing guidelines send a message to those out on the street selling drugs that they should stop.

Agencies participating in the investigation included LADID, which includes members from the Crow Wing County Sheriff’s Office, Baxter and Brainerd police departments, Drug Enforcement Administration in Fargo, Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. The Anoka County Drug Task Force and the Cass County Sheriff’s Office also assisted in making arrests.

JENNIFER STOCKINGER may be reached at or 855-5851. Follow me on Twitter at